RTB and The SEEN Matrix: What Does it Mean for Publishers and Advertisers?


ADOTAS – As brands and publishers come to grips with the recent proliferation of Real-Time Bidding (RTB) for digital and mobile advertising, many in the business are left wondering what the benefits and concerns are for both brands and publishers.

Traditionally, advertisers committed to budgets based on assumptions – how many and what types of people may the advertisement reach.  However, RTB is not based on assumptions, but rather on inventory and data, allowing advertisers to deliver the right advertisement to the right user at the right time – cost effectively. This is completely changing the buying landscape for digital and mobile advertisements.

The recent growth of RTB can likely be attributed to the advertisers becoming more familiar with the complex automated buying ecosystem.  According to eMarketer,  U.S. marketers will spend $3.34 billion this year on RTB, up 73.9 percent from last year.

RTB offers brands and publishers a cost-effective approach to targeting audiences, immediate access to those targeted audiences and transparency on the inventory purchased which, when combined with third-party data, can bring even further benefits.

RTB allows brands to leverage audience profile data to find their ideal customer. Rather than purchasing inventory based on assumed behavior at a set price, advertisers are able to target the right people at the right time. While this now empowers advertisers to bid for impressions, it will be a win for quality publishers. Just like any free market, demand will now dictate price, and this will allow publishers to get top dollar for premium inventory.

RTB also offers immediate access to targeted audiences and the ability to measure results quickly and efficiently. For brands the ease of being able to plan and update campaigns in real-time, based on performance analytics, is invaluable. Combined with sophisticated third-party data, brands can come up with a new advertisement idea by 10 a.m., see that it is not performing as expected by 11 a.m., and tweak and re-post the advertisement by noon.

Furthermore, RTB provides transparency on the inventory purchased, which gives confidence to the advertisers and creates a higher value transaction. If advertisers are able to see their return on investment, they are also more likely to continue to advertise and examine other opportunities, which is good for both advertisers and publishers.

However, even with RTB, there is no guarantee that advertisements will actually be seen.  Tools like viewability gives guidance to an ad’s potential to be seen, but fall short when it comes to what consumers actually see.  The Sticky SEEN matrix does what no other tool can: reveals which ads are actually seen by consumers.  Sticky recently conducted a study taking 100-percent viewable ads from five major brands – AT&T, Garnier, General Motors, Olay and Verizon – and testing them using the Sticky SEEN matrix technology. Results showed that in-screen doesn’t mean SEEN. Online in screen (viewable) ads, may remain unseen as much as 77 percent of the time.

For optimum results, especially for brands, it is important to incorporate SEEN data into the RTB equation. At the end of the day, it does not matter if the right people are visiting your page if they don’t see your ads.

The growth of RTB adoption speaks volumes; and the benefits of RTB being cost-effective, immediately accessible and transparent are clear.  RTB is the future of advertising, and what we have now is a step in the right direction.  However, to increase transparency for brands and publishers, SEEN data must also be a key factor in the RTB equation. With SEEN, the competitive advantage of using RTB will be undeniable.  Most will discover the competitive advantage of not just RTB buying, but of using a new and disruptive approach to customer-centric marketing. Using publisher data combined with third-party analytics and data to optimize advertising investments RTB will enable brands to reach their target audiences and ensure that ads are SEEN.



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